The Syracuse Orange (9-3) battle the West Virginia Mountaineers (8-3) on Friday night in the 2018 Camping World Bowl from Orlando. Kickoff is set for 5:15 PM EST on Friday, December 28th at Camping World Stadium. The game will be televised on ESPN.
Taking a look at the full list of college bowl betting odds, Syracuse is currently listed as a 7.5 point favorite. The total for the game is sitting at 74.5 points.
Camping World Bowl Vegas Odds Preview: Syracuse vs West Virginia
West Virginia lost their last two games of the regular season to finish 8-3 and fall out of the race for the Big 12 title. The Mountaineers had an extremely solid start to the season, winning eight of nine games before falling to Oklahoma State (45-41) and Oklahoma (59-56) in consecutive weeks. QB Will Grier recently announced that he will skip the game to prepare for the NFL draft. He will be replaced by backup Jack Allison, who only made ten passing attempts the entire regular season. OL Yodny Cajuste also announced he would be sitting out on Friday after being named as a first-team All-Big 12 Selection in 2018. Like Grier, Cajuste will be taking his talents to the NFL next season. As a whole, West Virginia averaged 42.3 points per game (9th overall) during the regular season, although the offense will certainly look much different against the Orange without their starting quarterback and top offensive lineman.
The Mountaineers were pretty average on the defensive side of the ball during the regular season, allowing opponents to score 26.5 points per game (60th overall).
Syracuse took many opponents during surprise during the regular season, finishing the season 9-3 overall after crushing Boston College 42-21 their last time out. The Orange only lost to Clemson, Notre Dame, and Pitt this year, two of which are in the College Football Playoff. They also have been playing extremely well as of late, going 5-1 over their last six. QB Eric Dungey had a strong season, passing for 2,565 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also added 15 more touchdowns on the ground after rushing for over 700 yards in 12 starts. Overall, Syracuse averaged 40.8 points per game (11th overall) during the regular season.
The Orange were below average on defense for much of the season, giving up 27.8 points per game to opponents (73rd overall). They were especially bad against the pass, allowing opponents to rack up an average of 263.0 yards per game through the air (112th overall).
2018 Camping World Bowl Free Betting Pick & Predictions: Syracuse -7
I have absolutely no intention of putting money behind West Virginia in this matchup, even in spite of the fact that they were clearly the better team on both sides of the ball during the regular season. Of course, things would certainly be different if Will Grier hadn’t announced that he wouldn’t be playing on Friday. He is clearly the catalyst for a Mountaineers offense that was ranked inside of the Top 10 in the entire nation this year. While I do think Jack Allison is a capable backup, there is no way that he will be able to seamlessly step in and take over the reigns for this high-flying attack after attempting just ten passes during the regular season. Throw in the fact that West Virginia will also be missing their top offensive lineman and it’s hard not to love Syracuse in this spot.
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The Orange are a very impressive 4-1-1 ATS over their last six non-conference games. They are also 4-1 ATS in their last five games against opponents with a winning record and 4-1 ATS over their last five games overall. West Virginia is only 1-6 ATS over their past seven neutral-site games. They are also just 0-4 ATS in their last four games against ACC opponents.
It is also extremely important to note that West Virginia is a dreadful 0-5 ATS over their last five bowl games. I am fully expecting that trend to continue on Friday night, especially when considering the fact that they will be foreced to start an unproven backup quarterback. I fully expect Syracuse to find a way to win this battle by double-digits, so I’m happy to lay a touchdown and take the favorites to cover – give me the Orange.